Green Sports News And Notes, Mid-May Edition

Mid-late May is one of the busiest times on the sports calendar:  The NBA and Stanley Cup Playoffs have reached the Conference Finals, baseball is in full swing, the NFL Draft has given fans of all 32 teams hope, the French Open is approaching, and, if California Chrome can win at The Preakness on Saturday, horse racing will have 3 weeks of Triple Crown buildup.  The intersection of Green & Sports is also busy these days.

2020 TOKYO OLYMPICS TO FEATURE HYDROGEN FUEL CELL VEHICLES

Tokyo made sustainability a central facet of its bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, committing to become the greenest games ever (my guess is that every future Olympics bid will make that statement). The Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee, in partnership with the Tokyo metropolitan government, is beginning to make good on that promise with the announcement that it plans to use hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) to transport athletes to and from Olympics and Paralympics events.

Special lanes connecting the athletes’ village to each competition venue will be established for the FCVs, transporting the 15,000 athletes and officials involved in the Games.

It makes sense that an Olympics in Tokyo is where FCVs, which run on a motor powered by electricity generated from a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, will make a splash. Starting next year, Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda will be the first automakers in the world to sell FCVs to the general public.

According the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, the Japanese central government is playing a key role in the birth of the FCV market. By the end of 2015, it will have funded the construction and operation of 100 hydrogen service stations in Tokyo.

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Artist’s rendering of the Olympic Stadium for the 2020 summer games in Tokyo. Athletes will be transported to and from the games in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (Photo Credit: The Telegraph)

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NIKE REDUCES EMISSIONS WHILE GROWING SALES

The main takeaway from the 2012-13 Nike Sustainability Report, released last week, is that the Beaverton, OR sports apparel giant has made major strides in energy efficiency. Here’s the most telling, even stunning, stat: In FY ’13 Nike reduced carbon emissions by 3% across the whole value chain vs. its FY ’11 baseline, while revenue grew 26% over the same period. Nike also:

  • Surpassed targets on water-efficiency goals with contract factories that manufacture footwear. Factories used 23% less water per unit in FY ’13 compared to FY ’11.

  • Pushed factories to meet the standards set out in the Sourcing & Manufacturing Sustainability Index Nike released in FY ’12, which elevated sustainability, including labor and environmental metrics  as an equal performance measure, alongside quality, cost and delivery (my emphasis). Through FY ’13 68 percent of contract factories were rated bronze or better on the index. Nike’s FY ’20 target is to only source from contract factories reaching bronze or better.

Nike still has a ways to go, sustainability-wise, as it relates to its supply chain (is striving for Bronze really the Nike way? Shouldn’t they be going for 100% Gold by 2020?) but they are moving in the right direction.

HOW THE NFL DRAFT COULD SOLVE OUR CARBON PROBLEM

Around 13 million people (yours truly included) watched the first round of the NFL Draft last week. That’s 3 million more than watched the final episode of Breaking Bad. ESPN’s draft guru the past 30-odd years, Mel Kiper, Jr., has become a cult figure of sorts, in part because of his perhaps overly slicked hair. Steve Kelly, talk show host at KPTR Palm Springs (CA) and GreenSportsBlog reader put Kiper, Jr.–and his coif–at the center of the intersection of Green & Sports with this: “You could solve global warming by fracking Mel Kiper’s hair!”  I know, I know, if we burned the oil from Mel’s hair, we’d still be putting GHGs into the atmosphere but at least, by doing so, we will leave some fossil fuels under ground.  A little NFL Draft/climate change humor on a Friday afternoon.

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ESPN’s NFL Draft Guru Mel Kiper, Jr.–and his hair (Photo Credit: Draft PHD’s)

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Email us: lew@greensportsblog.com

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